Skip to comments.Iconic WWII photo honored at Berlin exhibit (proto-photo-shop)
Posted on 06/15/2008 11:26:51 AM PDT by decimon
BERLIN It's an iconic image of World War II: Berlin has fallen and Soviet soldiers are hoisting the red flag over the Reichstag.
What most people don't realize, however, is that the photograph isn't capturing the historic moment. Yevgeni Khaldei staged the scene on May 2, 1945 three days after the Soviets captured Germany's parliament building.
The picture is the centerpiece of an exhibit "Yevgeni Khaldei The Decisive Moment" that bills itself as the first comprehensive retrospective of the photographer's World War II work.
The show at Berlin's Gropius-Bau museum reveals the extent to which Khaldei's work as a war correspondent and later a staff photographer for Pravda blurred the boundaries between photojournalism, art and propaganda.
For Russians, the Reichstag photo is as potent a symbol of victory as Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal's shot of the U.S. flag being raised on the Japanese island of Iwo Jima is for Americans.
But the Reichstag image was heavily manipulated: Smoke in the background was etched later on the negative, to create the impression the battle was still unfolding.
In another version, a soldier's wristwatches have been deftly edited out lest they give the impression he looted them.
Ernst Volland, one of the exhibit's curators, calls the Reichstag photo "120 percent propaganda" especially since it was made to order according to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's specifications.
"Stalin badly wanted the combination of Reichstag and the red flag," Volland said.
Another image shows a tank planted in front of the Brandenburg Gate, while a straight line of fighter planes soar overhead. Closer scrutiny reveals that the tank is a cutout from another picture and the planes are painted into the frame.
Khaldei saw no ethical problem with the doctoring. If challenged about a photo's truthfulness, Volland said, the photographer would simply reply: "It's a good photo. I made it. 'Auf wiedersehen.'"
Khaldei toiled in obscurity for most of his life and lived out his retirement in a small Moscow apartment on a modest pension until his death in 1997.
The retrospective of over 200 images was put together by private photography collectors Volland and Heinz Krimmer, who have been instrumental in bringing Khaldei's work to a broader public.
"Khaldei's photos are in every German schoolbook. His images are known but the man behind them is not," said Krimmer. Khaldei never considered himself an artist, and only sold his work in small quantities from his apartment.
Born to a Jewish family in 1917, Khaldei built his first camera at age 12. In 1936, he began to shoot for the Soviet news agency TASS, creating his most memorable images during World War II and its aftermath, notably the Potsdam Conference of Allied leaders in 1945 and the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals.
After the war, Khaldei had difficulty finding full-time work because of Stalin's anti-Semitic purges and campaigns.
Only after Stalin died in 1953 was Khaldei hired by Soviet newspapers.
Volland and Krimmer met him in Moscow in 1991 and began collecting his work. Their collection of his images is now the largest outside Russia.
In 1994 in Berlin, they mounted the first exhibition of Khaldei's work and published a book with some of his pictures.
The current show, which opened May 8 and runs through July 28, was supported by Germany's Federal Culture Fund. It will travel to Ukraine this year and a U.S. visit is also likely, though no details have been cemented.
While war photography makes up the heart of the exhibit, it also includes Khaldei's images of Europe in ruins. From the 1950s onwards, his work focuses on workers, politicians and artists such as cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
The curators said Berlin was an appropriate first stop for the tour.
"Khaldei's most famous images were made right around the corner," Krimmer said.
On the Net:
Ernst Volland, one of the exhibit’s curators, calls the Reichstag photo “120 percent propaganda” especially since it was made to order according to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s specifications.
Took the words out of my mouth.
Isn’t the well know Iwo Jima photo also staged, or is that another rumor?
In this May 2, 1945 file photo, Soviet soldiers hoist the red flag over the Reichstag in Berlin. It's one of the iconic images of World War II: Soviet soldiers hoisting a red flag on top of the Reichstag after the fall of Berlin. What most people don't realize, however, is that the photograph isn't capturing the historical moment. Yevgeni Khaldei staged the scene on May 2, 1945 three days after the Soviets had captured the key seat of Nazi power. (AP Photo/ ITAR-TASS, Yevgeny Khaldei,FILE)
In this May 2, 1945 file photo, Soviet soldiers hoist the red flag over the Reichstag in Berlin. It's one of the iconic images of World War II: Soviet soldiers hoisting a red flag on top of the Reichstag after the fall of Berlin. What most people don't realize, however, is that the photograph isn't capturing the historical moment. Yevgeni Khaldei staged the scene on May 2, 1945 three days after the Soviets had captured the key seat of Nazi power. (AP Photo/ITAR-TASS, Yevgeny Khaldei, FILE)
In this Feb. 1990 file photo veteran photographer Yevgeny Khaldei is shown. It's one of the iconic images of World War II: Soviet soldiers hoisting a red flag on top of the Reichstag after the fall of Berlin. What most people don't realize, however, is that the photograph isn't capturing the historical moment. Yevgeni Khaldei staged the scene on May 2, 1945 three days after the Soviets had captured the key seat of Nazi power. (AP Photo/ITAR-TASS, file)
Que the Arab lady and the “Bomb Magnet”.
No, not staged. A small flag was raised first, and later a larger flag was carried up and raised. A photographer was present at both raisings, and a movie cameraman was also present at the second raising. As the second flag was going up the movie camera captured just some Marines struggling to get the steel pipe raised upright, and photographer Joe Rosenthal almost missed it. He saw the flag going up out of the corner of his eye and turned to snap a quick picture in the middle of it. He later transmitted his pictures stateside by shortwave radio facsimile transmission and his editors were stunned by the symbolic picture they saw. Rosenthal didn't even know what he had done at the time. It was just another combat picture out of hundreds taken.
I always thought there was something funny about that picture...
Where's Lootie carrying off the German beer?
Check the bottom right corner.
It must have been a heck of a haul carrying that beer box from New Orleans to Berlin!!!!!
“Isnt the well know Iwo Jima photo also staged, or is that another rumor?”
Yes it was staged.
Joe Rosenthal had the men raise the pole with the flag several times before he got the shot with which he was satisfied.
Actually, those looks like some Havana apartments in the background.
Im not kidding.
“No, not staged. A small flag was raised first, and later a larger flag was carried up and raised. A photographer was present at both raisings, etc.”
I concede to your account.
Yours is correct.
I believe this would be an “All your Reichstag are belong to us” moment.
Wasn’t really staged, the general ordered a bigger flag, since the peak was visible from nearly every point on the island.
Oh lord!!! Too funny!!!
It took me until now to notice Tourist Guy at the top and the beer guy at bottom stage right.
Too brilliant!!! I mean it.
Question. Does the guy on lower stage right have a nickname too?
Thank you for the good laugh.
I hope somebody can send that photo to Tourist Guy.
It was. Didn’t even use the same guys who raised the first one.
You are full of s***.
The gentleman at the bottom right is affectionately known as “Looter Guy”. He was snapped in flagrante during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, helping himself to a lovely stash of cold Heinekens while wading through the floodwaters.
Oh, you are so wonderful I mean it.
I remember seeing Looter Guys photos during the hurricane and many after that through the present; but until now, I did not know his name and the type of liquid stash he was carrying.
I figured it was not sodas, but I had no confirmation until now.
Thank you again.
My best regards.
You must be hitting the same crack pipe as Gatun.
Post # 20 for your “Historical Looter” collection.
And you are full of mierda as we say in Spansh.
I would like to add to the comments about the Iwo Jima flag raising picture being a posed picture.
The photographer, Joe Rosenthal, took a lot of pictures that day. He did take a posed picture of a group of Marines in front of a flag. He sent off the film undeveloped. When the editors saw the now famous picture, they asked him if it was posed. He said, “Yes.” but was thinking that they were asking about the one that was really posed. When he finally figured out which picture they were talking about, he corrected his previous answer.
I believe that some jealous photographers repeated his mistaken answer in order to try to deprive him of some of his fame.
That is correct only now they do it on their own following their teaching from journalism school rather than following orders from any particular government, administration or party. They are true fanatical believers in what they propagate.
In most of todays news stories you can spot the propagandists line within the first two paragraphs. It's rather ham-fisted but but the dumbing down imposed on us by our schools and shortened attention spans created by our entertainment industry allows it to work quite well. Only when the status quo is disturbed by something like gas prices does it start to break down. Notice how global warming has suddenly left the scene?
“You must be hitting the same crack pipe as Gatun.”
I know nothing about “crack pipe”...Whatever that is... or other drugs.
Apparently you yourself deal with these things because of your accusations.
Faked photos from the Soviet Union?
Now there’s something we’ve never heard about (/SARC)
The Commissar Vanishes:
The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin’s Russia
by David King
Ref post #30.
Thank you for that information.
Thats purty funny, right there!
Yeah, Uncle Joe was quite the cut up.
Oh my goodness. Thank you for the good laugh. I am sitting here at my computer with nobody around and nearly fell out of my chair laughing. I hope the neighbors dont complain.
Thank you so much.
I LOVE Looter Guy. It is a classic photo. I wonder who snapped it. That person needs to be given credit. Every time I see Looter Guy, I laugh all over again.
I was researching Looter Guy for his identity. Until now, I have not found anything. But then again, I only spent about half an hour only because my time was limited at that point.
On the other hand, PETER GUZLI (Tourist Guy) is a Hungarian from Budapest. He was working at a hotel in Colorado Springs. He went on vacation in November of 1997 to NY City to visit relatives and had that photo taken. He had returned to Hungary when 9/11 happened. At that point, he retrieved that photo (which he had along with many other photos from his parents home) of himself and did some PhotoShop on it. He sent his altered photos to a few friends and the rest is history. Little did he know. Within hours it went around the world through e-mails. He did not mean for that to happen and was not pleased.
Some crooked Brazilian who was going to try and make money off of this said it was he who was in that photo. That is when Peter came clean and offered a series of photos proving he was the one in the photo.
That immediate building in the background looks like what I saw in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, as we were being driven back to the airport.
I love that photo.
Thank you again.
No, not ‘harmonic.’
There is Tourist Guy and and Looter Guy.
Anybody I should know on the bottom of stage left and right?
Thank you for that photo.
I have to sign off now, but I will continue tomorrow.
P.S. Is she not the same witch who was photographed in that same act in front of a couple of buildings pretending she resided there?
Doesn’t change the fact that you are WRONG about the Iwo Jima flag raising photo.
Is she looking at a ceiling cat?
There is a better (earlier) book with many of the same examples called something like The Art of Making People Disappear.
It not only covered the USSR but also Communist China, Vietnam, and Cuba.
Why would some Communist propaganda be excised from this other book?
There is a better (earlier) book with many of the same examples called
something like The Art of Making People Disappear.
Your recall is spot-on.
Thanks for the tip; link to the amazon.com below for the forum’s use.
Making People Disappear: An Amazing Chronicle of Photographic Deception
(Pergamon-Brassey’s Intelligence & National Security Library)
by Alain Jaubert
Ahhhh! The Symbol of New Orleans!....I think there’s a song in that somewhere....wait, it’s been done....it goes on to say “.....I’ll be gone 500 miles fo’ the day is done.......” Could have been “spirit” though.....